Friday, June 27, 2008

Mi Patria

I'm flying out to New York this evening to see family and friends. A friend from Argentina is going to be there too and we are going to hang out. We haven't seen each other in 2 years so we have a lot to talk about. Needless to say I am super excited to be going home.

Que tengan un buen fin de semana! See you next week! Happy knitting!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pretty Yarn

Recently, I heard a report on National Public Radio talking about the rise in lipstick sales in the United States of America. The journalist stated that usually in hard economic times, women cut back on more expensive cosmetic related items like facials and day spa trips, but lipstick seems to be a cheap "pick-me up" type of consumer good to buy. I mean let's think about it. Women, even in hard times, want to feel beautiful. And if a new tube of red lipstick or sparkly lip gloss will give them the "pick-me up" they need to get through the week, why not? Seeing that I don't wear lipstick, yarn has replaced that "pick-me up" that I need so badly right now.

Yesterday I went to the world famous Thread Bear yarn store in Lansing, MI. Sorry, I didn't take any pictures of the store itself because I forgot to bring my camera. But I will say that if you are anywhere near Lansing, MI, pay a visit to this store. It is huge, carries a wide selection of yarns and knitting notions, and they even sell spinning wheels, drop spindles, and fiber. I even got to meet with the owners of the store, Rob and Matt, who were both very funny, pretty nice and hospitable. Love that place and do plan on returning whenever I'm in the Lansing area.

I'm sure you're wondering what type of yarns are these. From top to bottom, some worsted weight Malabrigo, some gorgeous hand dyed sock yarn by Susie (hmm, that makes 4 skeins from her), some Colinette Jitterbug, and some more Malabrigo in the chunky weight. I only picked up the Malabrigo because that fire in Uruguay really destroyed a lot of the inventory. I hear it will take them anywhere from 6 months to a whole year to get back to full capacity (anyone can correct me if I'm wrong). Therefore, Malabrigo addicts, you need to snatch whatever skeins you can up before it is all gone for a while (see I wasn't crazy when I talked about "THE END"). The Jitterbug was too beautiful to pass up, as the colors were just so whimsical and pretty.

As for the pink variegated yarn above, I must take a moment to talk about the Perchance to Knit sock yarn. I saw this skein and knew that it had to come home with me. The price was a little steep, but quite frankly, the dye job on this skein was hard to beat. Like I said, I have about 4 skeins and from time to time I just admire and pet them. GORGEOUS!!! I command all who read this to run over to the Loopy Ewe and buy Perchance to Knit because I would do anything for Susie and the work she does is phenomenal.

Remember the secret hat I was working on? Here are the pictures.

This was my first time using Noro Kureyon and each time I picked this hat up to work on it, I felt such peace and calm with my knitting. I only mention this because whenever I knit, I'm completely obsessed with getting the project done ASAP. That definetely makes me a project knitter. But seeing the colors transition so well in this hat was really intriguing. A very enjoyable project for me indeed.

So today I'm cooling out. Lots of knitting and getting some housework done (you know the usual).

Later! Ate logo! Hasta luego!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Women and "Getting Ready"

You ever think about the amount of time we spend wasting time? I mean, I'm sure the majority of you that read this thing are women. And women for some reason are notorious for taking ass loads of time just to "get ready" everyday. And as the importance of an occassion increases, so does the amount of time a woman will spend "getting ready".

I will give you an example. If you are getting ready for work, it may take you about 45 minutes to shower, get your hair combed, put on your make up, find an outfit to wear, etc. Forty-five minutes isn't too long of a time for most women. But lets say you are going on a first date with a man that you have fancied for months now. Add some girlfriends and another 30 minutes to your routine. How about a special dinner with your husband or a special ceremony held in your honor? Plan on at least 2 1/2 hours to get ready.

Last year, my boyfriend's step brother was getting married and I had the pleasure of hanging out with the women of the bridal party. I'm always with men (not in a slutty way, come on guys), so it was nice to be with some women. Needless to say the high amounts of estrogen were at times overwhemling over that weekend, but it was a cool observe women enjoying each other. So that Sunday was the wedding ceremony and the bride woke up a 8 a.m. to start the process of getting ready. FOUR (4) HOURS LATER she was ready to take her first set of pictures. Of course she looked gorgeous, but 4 HOURS!!! Why can't women get married in burlap sacks? When men get married, they spend most of the wedding day golfing or playing basketball. Then 20 minutes before the ceremony begins, they remember "Oh yeah, I'm getting married today" and race back to the hotel to slosh some Listerine in their mouth, slap on their tux, and make sure to wear lots of cologne to hide the smell of sweat build up on their backs.

I don't know if many of you guys know this, but when I was in high school, I used to chemically straighten my hair (perm is what most black people say). Anyway, there were many reasons why I stopped (we won't go into them here). But do you really want to know the main reason why I stopped? It is because I am completely lazy. You see, when you have permed hair, you have to do all sorts of things to keep it looking fresh. Touch ups every 2 months, wash and sets every 2 weeks, deep conditioning every month so your hair doesn't fall out from being so dry from the harsh chemicals you put on them in order to keep it straight. Did I also mention this cost a fortune and requires much time in a salon, just to do hair! No wonder celebrities like Beyonce and Christina Aguilera wear weaves, wigs, and hair extentions. The chemical processes, heat styling and excessive products just kill your hair.

So it goes without saying that when it comes to making myself presentable to the world, I do the BARE MINIMUM. Shower, deodarant, chapstick. You're lucky if I even put on lotion (which I have to do in the warmer months because crusty legs and feet are just not a good look). And forget about make-up. To me it is just another waste of time and money.

Another reason why I'm so terribly minimalistic with my daily routine is because I feel there are better things I could be doing. Like cleaning my house, working on my business, and of course, knitting.

So my final argument is this. Are you a knitter who always complains about not getting enough knitting done? If you find yourself spending hours in the bathroom getting ready for the day, think about redirecting that time to knitting. I'm sure you'll get a lot more done and feel a whole lot better about yourself in the end for accomplishing so much. That would mean forgoing make up application, elaborate hair styling, and maybe leg shaving if you could handle it. But PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. Shower daily, brush your teeth, and if you plan on showing some skin, make sure those areas being shown are well moisturized. That's my two cents, what's yours?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Blah Day

Yesterday was World Wide Knit in Public Day. Did anyone participate? I sure didn't. I mean, I wanted to and all but I got lazy. Quite frankly, knitting is a very solitary activity for me. Now, I do like chatting and socializing with people, especially knitters. But why should I leave my house just to knit with perfect strangers? Yeah, I'll save my money on gas and stay at home, thank you!

It was a glorious and sunny day in northern Indiana. I woke up refreshed and decided that since it was the Lord's Day, I was going to rest and knit for the entire time. And I did:

I worked on the Clapotis, started a hat out of Noro (pics later), and continued working on the socks above. It is a pattern from Interweave Knits Fall 2007 issue and I'm so happy to be doing this project. Unfortuntely, my hands tend to hurt after a while of knitting on these stockings. I think it's because this yarn is supposed to be knit on size 8 US needles but I'm using a size 3 US , just like the pattern says. I don't know how long it will take me to get these stockings done, but I love cables and will enjoy every minute of knitting on this thing.

Photo Shoot

I also got a package in the mail from KnitPicks. Here are some shots:

It's the blue/green lace sampler pack. Six skeins of gorgeous lace weight at a very economical price I must say. I have only shown you half of the package because I'm sending the other 3 skeins to a friend of mine in Chile. This should be a real treat for her, seeing that Knitpicks does not ship anywhere else but the United States and Canada.

Anyway, today I will be working on my health business and cleaning my house. I might as well, seeing that it will be raining all day. But before I close this post off, do tell me, what did you do yesterday for World Wide Knit in Public Day?

See ya!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Why Stash?

This will be short and hopefully what I am going to say is not something you have heard before.

There are many reasons why knitters stash yarn. Some revel in it while others dread the stash and work to cull it down only to find themselves helpless in front of some lace weight merino-silk blend. As for me, I stash because I like how it looks in my room. My stash is on a book shelf right next to my bed so I get to see it every single morning. It gives me much joy and pleasure being able to be lulled asleep by the stash and quickly rejuvenated by it the next morning.

Today at the job, I came up with another reason I, and probably you too, should stash. Let's face it. The popularity of knitting is fading. And if it hasn't yet, it sure will pretty soon. That means that the market for the knitting industry will dry up and not be as hot as it once was. Therefore, all the cool fibers that have been coming out lately like bamboo, seacell, and soysilk will be the first to go. Then the more traditional materials will become less available like silk, cashmere, and alpaca. If there is not a market of knitters clamoring for beautiful yarn made for hand knitting, then yarn producers will go out of business. Places like Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Cascade, and smaller hand dying operations will cease to exist. And all of those knitters who are now obsessed with stash busting will be left with nothing but lint and scraps to knit with. Oh how they will regret their present day actions in the future!

In short, in order to keep the current yarns we have available to the knitting community, consumers must continue buying. As long as someone can make money and fill a gap in the market, then we knitter's will have what we want. But realistically, 10 years from now, the knitting industry could revert back to the days of the 70's of Kevlar acrylic and itchy as all hell wools. Mind you, I was born in 1984 but I have heard the horror stories and do NOT wish to return to the "good ol' days." God forbid when that day comes, your left with only a couple skeins of hand dyed sock yarn to last you for 2 months. You WANT to be prepared for the day when fiber artisans and hand knitting producers finally shut down shop by the thousands. When your source for high quality wool ceases to exist, you don't want to be left high and dry without any yarn.

So my advice? Buy within your means and remember that if you don't buy yarn, businesses will loose revenue and eventually go out of business. Always remember that the party will have to end at some point. The stuff you covet now will be gone tomorrow. Nothing lasts forever, therefore BE PREPARED FOR THE END!!!

Don't I sound like a religious fanatic? What do you think?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Rewarding Myself

Hey everyone! How has your weekend been turning out? Para mi, ayer fue espectacular! The day started off with washing dishes, making breakfast, and finishing up some knitting related stuff. After all of this, I was ready to sit and knit for hours on end when I realized that my house was a mess and needed to be cleaned from top to bottom. The problem was that I really wanted to go outside and make a frivolous yarn purchase. That's when I said, "Hey, if I clean the house to my satisfaction, then I will reward myself with a trip to the yarn store." Needless to say, I got what I needed to do done and headed straight to the yarn store a couple hours later. Here's what I got.

Some more lovely roving. I finally learned that the fiber I was spinning last time was Corriedale and this roving is the same animal just in different colors. I like the whole barber pole affect of plying 2 monochromatic singles together and I think that these two colors together will give me a more sophisticated yarn (unlike the last one I made, which was more sporty). What I really like about these two colors is the 80's feel they have together. The colors are soft and pretty and remind me of a businesswoman in Manhattan in a a tan pencil skirt with a purple satin blouse, pearls, chocolate brown shoes, and chocolate brown crocodile patterned purse to match.

I also bought some yarn I've never worked with before.

Two skeins of Noro Kureyon. I picked it up only because of the colors. The yarn itself is not the softest but as I mature as a knitter, I don't think everything has to be baby soft and cushy. Besides, I like working with rougher yarns to make some really tough as nails garments like hats and mittens. And seeing that I am trapped in the Midwest for the next couple years, long wearing knitwear is needed for the terrible winters we experience.


I do agree with Jenny and Nicole from Stash & Burn podcast. Spinning is the new sock knitting! The yarn store I went to yesterday happens to sell wheels, particularly Ashford wheels. The owner was kind enough to give me a catalog and my boyfriend and I looked through it. I've spun on the Joy before and thought it was cool but my boyfriend really likes the Traveller just because of the way it looks. Believe it or not, he actually learned how to spin a LONG time ago when he was a young boy of 7 or 8 years. I'm sure if he started up again, he could pick it up fast.

That's all for now. Today I'm going to the beach with some friends to get a tan. I know, I know, I'm already fairly dark skinned (i.e., I'm a black person) but I have to say that sitting in the sun for a couple hours doesn't just darken my skin, it also adds a nice golden glow to it that I absolutely LOVE. Plus laying on a towel on the beach and sun bathing is even more relaxing than a full body massage or a pedicure and yet it is a lot cheaper!

Lastly, here are some pictures of my boyfriend's garden. He's the one with the green thumb and I'm proud of his accomplishments. He has some zucchini, tomatoes, hot peppers, basil, and thyme growing. Enjoy!


We didn't end up going to the beach because a tornado decided to mess up our sunny day. Nevertheless, I had fun with my friends inside waiting out the storm. Later!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Business Unusual

It is absolutely amazing what we knitters can do with our hands. This past weekend, I took a step further and became a spinner. Behold my first yarn ever!

Isn't it atrocious! Hey, I'm just keepin' it real folks! Needless to say that I didn't expect to have my first handspun yarn look beautiful anyway. Nonetheless, I am super glad I did this, mainly because it was one of my New Year's Resolutions to learn how to spin. The only bad thing is that I got somewhat bored and frustrated with the spindle and have since gotten the itch to buy a wheel. Now I don't know much about wheels or which one to get and quite frankly, I'm doing a lot of other non-knitting related things in my life that would keep me from purchasing my own wheel. I did get to spin on a friend's wheel for a short while some time ago and I sure did like it. Maybe I'll get it later on this year. Any suggestions?

Non-Knitting Related Thing

For the past couple of weeks I have been working on a side project that has been keeping me away from posting as often as I would like on this here blog. Though it is not knitting related, I think it could help more than just us knitters. It is a website (click here to see it) that features weight loss and nutritional products. I wasn't too sure about posting about it on the blog because I didn't want to mix business (the website) with pleasure (the blog). But I thought well there could be some one of you that may be looking for a weight loss solution or a healthier alternative to coffee or soda for energy. Therefore, this will be the first and last time I will mention it. Go and fiddle around, tell me what you think. Tell a friend and see if they would be interested in it too. I hope you all like it.

Well that's all for now. I got to get back to working on my side project.